Vitals: Oklahoma vs. Missouri

Friday, September 23rd 2011, 12:34 am
By: News 9

Corey DeMoss,

Missouri Tigers (2-1) at No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners (2-0)
7:00 p.m. CST
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium; Norman, Oklahoma

Statistical Leaders:

  Oklahoma Missouri
Passing Landry Jones
53/74, 574 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
James Franklin
61/93, 694 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing Dominique Whaley
39 carries, 202 yards, 4 TDs
Henry Josey
29 carries, 400 yards, 3 TDs
Receiving Ryan Broyles
21 catches, 213 yards, 1 TD
T.J. Moe
16 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD

Where to find it:

On Radio:
Sooner Radio Network

Injury Report:

Oklahoma: OL Jarvis Jones (knee, probable); LB Travis Lewis (toe, probable); WR Trey Franks (suspension, out indefinitely)

Missouri: TE Eric Waters (hamstring, probable); DL Jacquies Smith (elbow, probable); WR Gahn McGaffie (knee, probable); OL Chris Freeman (knee, doubtful); LB Will Ebner (ankle, doubtful); RB De'Vion Moore (leg, out two-three weeks); RB Kendial Lawrence (leg, out four weeks); RB Marcus Murphy (shoulder, out indefinitely); OL Elvis Fisher (knee, out for season); LB Brandon Durant (knee, out for season)

What you need to know…

After a wild week of uncertainty in the Big 12, teams will finally be able to focus on football again. With conference realignment drama providing a constant distraction and Oklahoma coming off an emotional road win against a Top 5 team, this normally could be considered a trap game for OU.

But the team they're playing should get the Sooners' attention. Not only is Missouri their first conference opponent of the season, but the Tigers knocked off the Sooners when they rose to No. 1 in the nation just last season.

Bob Stoops has made sure to constantly remind his players about that 36-27 loss and stay motivated to keep it from happening again. There should be no concern about Mizzou sneaking up on the Sooners this week.

Who you need to watch…

The key for OU's offensive attack will be balance. In the loss to Missouri last year, the Sooners threw the ball 50 times and only ran it 25. With a seemingly endless stable of running backs in the backfield this season, expect those numbers to be much more even Saturday.

Through only two games this season, OU has run the ball 85 times. Dominique Whaley and Brennan Clay each have more than 25 carries, and Clay has proven to be a reliable weapon out of the backfield.

In Whaley's only game in Norman, he set an OU walk-on record with four touchdowns in one game. If the Sooners manage to build an early lead, expect to see plenty of Whaley as OU works the clock and wears down the Missouri defense.

Missouri's spread offense should give OU's young secondary its toughest test of the young season. Sophomore quarterback James Franklin has completed passes to 16 different players and has thrown touchdowns to six of them.

The Sooners will not be able to key on one main receiver, and likely will need to use nickel and dime packages to get more speedy defensive backs on the field.

Behind Franklin, Missouri's backfield has been decimated by injuries. The Tigers will be without three different running backs, including a junior and a senior, Saturday. But in their absence, sophomore Henry Josey has proven to be a big-play threat.

Josey currently is sixth in the nation and first in the Big 12 with 400 rushing yards on only 29 carries, an astounding 13.8 yards per rush. He is coming off a game in which he gained 263 yards on 14 carries and scored three times, albeit against a poor Western Illinois defense.

With Missouri's combination of a spread offense and dangerous running back, expect OU to utilize rover Tony Jefferson. Jefferson has become a kind of hybrid linebacker/safety, and will be key in helping limit the Tigers' explosive offensive attack.